A/N: Hi, everyone! First of all, English is not my first language so I'm sorry in advance for any mistake. This fanfic was a birthday present to a dear friend (LittleLatina) who also loves Jack and Chloe friendship. I would like to thank ScorpioGirl1987 for beta reading this entire story.
Jack & Chloe
Events occur after the series finale.
It had become a habit. He would sit in the same park bench, at the same hour of the day, and would stare at the same happy family. The whole ritual didn't last more than five minutes and then he would stand up, look around hoping he hadn't been noticed and go back the way he came. For three months now, this was the closest he got to home.
Today was no different and he couldn't stop smiling when the boy kicked the ball and scored a very wonderful goal, making his father shake his head pretending he was defeated and like he couldn't bare playing with such a young and yet, skilled kid. The boy laughed out loud, running until be caught by his father's proud embrace. His mother laughed along with them, watching the scene from her own spot under a tree. She looked exactly like he remembered. Her long and brown straight hair, her porcelain skin and her smile. She didn't used to smile a lot but as her best friend, he had the privilege to know her outside their work environment and every time they had met far away from computers, national threats, guns and bombs, she had smiled.
He was pulled out from his reverie when a little girl ran into his legs, falling on the ground right next to him. He reached out, a kind smile on his face – the little girl with her blond hair and baby blue eyes immediately reminded him of Teri – and helped the girl to get up, receiving a thank you in return from her mother.
He also got up, deciding it was time to get back to his place but stopped dead in his tracks when she saw her standing right in front of him. How she had moved so fast and unnoticed he didn't know. Maybe he was getting old and his reflexes were slowing, especially when he wasn't an agent anymore. Could never be an agent anymore.
She had her arms crossed around herself and knowing her so well, he knew her hard composure was just a façade. She was confused, angry and waiting for an explanation. What was he doing there? Why haven't he tried to contact her all these years? How could he just happen to be here and stay away, as if they didn't even know each other?
Through his sunglasses, he wondered how she had recognized him and as if reading his mind, she gave him the answer.
"The little's girl mom screamed her name. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw you helping her. I saw your smile."
I know your smile.
He just nodded, unable to find any words to form a reply. Her voice. He was longing to hear her voice and almost closed his eyes to savor each word that slipped from her mouth. Only now he knew how much he had missed her. And the life her voice brought back.
"We can't talk." He suddenly remembered he was jeopardizing everything while in contact with her and worse, he was putting her in unnecessary danger. "You should go back."
He might be slower but his trained eyes were able to see her arms tightening around herself more forcefully, a sign that his voice also drawn a reaction from her.
"There's a deserted alley behind the souvenir store. Meet me there in five minutes."
And then she turned her back to him, walking away and not allowing him to argue back. Not giving him a choice but to follow her instructions. And against all the voices in his head telling him he should just flee from the park, he made his way to where he'd meet her again.
She was already there when he arrived, her body leaning against the farther corner of the alley and he immediately knew why she had chosen that place. There wasn't a single soul around and if he didn't know it was her waiting for him, it wouldn't be possible for him to recognize who it was. He felt more at ease, knowing that brilliant mind of hers wouldn't let them get caught. Wouldn't let him get caught.
Jack stopped a few feet away from her, his back to the entrance of the alley. He knew he could trust her to have his back. She always had his back and had never disappointed him. In fact, he knew he was only alive because she had made sure one hundred times that he would be safe. So he was safe there, even if it was only for a few minutes.
She looked right into his sunglass covered eyes, her blue ones telling him everything only her eyes could tell him. She couldn't believe they were there, so close to each other after three years without a word from one or the other. She was resented for not hearing from him but understood his decision not to be in touch. She missed him. She missed him a lot.
"What are you doing here?" Her voice was softer now even if her arms were still in front of her chest.
"I could ask you the same thing."
When he first went to the park, his only intention was to clear his mind. He was facing one of those days when all the memories he tried to forget insisted on dancing in front of his eyes, his mind unable to stop them. The worst of it all was that he truly could remember everything. All the times he killed someone, or watched someone get killed. All the times he lost someone. Someone too close- too close to home. All the pain he felt when he was being tortured and all the pain he had caused while torturing another human being. All the blood, all the angst. And when he felt that devastating sadness starting to wash over him, he decided he needed fresh air. Then he went to the park, and would never forget how the air left his lungs when he heard her voice, first thinking it was only his depressed mind mocking him, and on the second time, he really looked around, spotting her under the same tree he saw her earlier today. There she was. In a small town located in Europe. The last place he thought he'd find her.
"I've been here for five months or so." He answered at last. He owed her an explanation.
"And you've been watching me since then?" Now he could hear the pain in her voice and the vulnerability in her eyes.
"No." He took a deep breath. He wished they could just skip the explanations and enjoy each others' company while they could. "I've been watching you for three months."
"Three months." She repeated calmly and for a minute, she didn't say another word. He could see her mind working all the facts and then she shook her head, her expression changing. In her eyes, he could see she truly understood his choice not to be in touch. Not only three months ago but during these three years. Always the genius.
Jack opened a tentative smile, and it only grew more confident when she gave him a full, Chloe smile in return. Without wasting another minute, he reached out, pulling her into his arms. Her tiny body collided with his and he kept her there, holding her tight to his own. She placed her head in the crook of his neck, closing her eyes to feel everything that was him. His strong arms around her, his heated body completely flushed against hers, his steady breath on her skin.
When she took a step back, he expected her to take another one, but instead, she stood there, only inches away from him, their breath mingling in the tiny space between them. She raised her arms, her eyes never leaving his face and slowly, she took his sunglasses off, their eyes finally truly connecting. He felt the world stop, her eyes searching his, boring into his and right here and then, he felt better than he had felt in the last three years, as if a missing piece of himself had just be found, that unmistakable feeling that he was, somehow, at home again. Halfway home.
Jack took one of her hands in his, interlacing their fingers, needing to feel her to believe all of this wasn't just a creation of his mind.
"I left the USA one year ago." She said, her voice devoid of any previous anger. She also knew he owed him an explanation and now, she was willing to give it to him. "They tried to make me say where you were but I denied knowing anything about your whereabouts. They eventually gave up but it was too late, and both Prescott and Morris were already distressed, scared that the next knock on the door could be the CIA ready to lock me up."
He was about to say he was sorry for putting her through all of this but she pressed her index finger against his mouth, preventing him from saying it.
"It's not your fault. I don't regret anything I did to protect you and help you get out of there. That country doesn't deserve you, Jack." She confessed what was on her mind for years now. "All these years, they kicked you out without a second thought in more than one occasion." He knew she was telling nothing but the true and decided to keep quiet until she was finished. "I decided it was time to leave our country. I couldn't do that job anymore, not while watching my son worried about me not coming home every day. It was when we decided to move out and a small town in Europe sounded like a great idea."
And if their happy family in the park was any indicator, it was the best choice they could ever make.
"You deserve to be happy, Chloe. Wherever you are."
"So do you." She shot back, her passionate tone telling him she couldn't stand the way he had to live his life. "So do you, Jack."
And then they were looking at each other again, that strong and deep connection filling the silence around them with the entire story between them.
"You should go back." He said simply, and she just nodded, watching when he started to turn his back to her, ready to go all the way back to the entrance of the alley. Without thinking, she grabbed his elbow, stopping his movements and bringing him back to her, their bodies once again colliding.
"I missed you." She whispered in his ear and he smiled, the feeling of her swallowing him whole, bringing him back not only to her but to home. All the way home.
"I missed you too."